51 Reasons Why We Love Charlotte (24-41)

24. Charlotte architecture Myers ParkDilworth bungalows, Foxcroft ranches, and Myers Park manses are just a few of the reasons why we love driving around the city. These homes represent eras in design when mod ranches were cool and white-pillared homes were (and still are) traditional and nostalgic. It’s, dare we say, one of the most impressive cities in the country for design. Ok, we said it. 
25. Simone Orendain, WFAE reporter/producer SimoneTune your radio dial to 90.7 and you’ll be greeted by a host of local reporters who contradict the notion of public radio as a giant snooze fest for liberal academics. One personality who stands out is WFAE producer and reporter Simone Orendain, whose insight and candid interviews make the commute a bit more tolerable. What other public radio reporter would dare sing a duet of Elton John’s “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” with Charlotte karaoke cabbie Billy Rivera for all the world to hear? Incidentally, Orendain’s karaoke cab story, “Singin’ Around Charlotte,” was picked up by NPR and aired nationally, bringing a bit of positive attention to the media-maligned Queen City. Orendain has lived in Charlotte since 2005 and includes the weather and the yummy loukoumades at the Yiasou Festival as her favorite things about Charlotte. “I’ve come to appreciate that a city the size of Charlotte is just right, because while it’s not so small, it’s also not so big that you lose that sense of community.” It’s also not so big that that duet won’t come back to haunt you, Simone …

ONLINE ONLY: Listen to Orendain and karaoke cabbie Billy Rivera’s “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” duet at www.charlottemagazine.com.

26. The Tree Canopy There's a reason why you drive first-time visiting friends and family down Queens Road West—and it's not the gorgeous homes. It’s the trees, and they’re everywhere. City arborist Don McSween tells us the oldest trees in Charlotte are likely 120 to 150 years old, and some of the grandest can be found outside First Presbyterian Church in uptown and on the grounds of old estates such as the Morrocroft Mansion, the home of former Gov. Cameron Morrison in  SouthPark. 
27. Cankerworms There's something heartwarming about neighbors -- even if they haven’t spoken for the entire year -- banding together to fight these little tree-killing critters. And if it’s a worm that brings us together, then so be it. 
28. SouthPark Mall Just a few years ago, SouthPark Mall had one less wing and a lot fewer luxury fashion stores. Now, with stores like Neiman Marcus, Hermès, Burberry, Crate & Barrel, and the new Michael Kors, our top mall has become one of the Southeast’s top shopping destinations. Not too shabby for a place that opened in pastureland on the outskirts of the city in 1970. 
29. Reader Comments
Love 'em or hate 'em, there are always plenty of comments on stories on the Charlotte Observer’s Web site, leaving little doubt that we are a city that likes to be heard. And while occasionally the comments section can become rather heated, that’s half the fun in reading them. Here are a few of our favorite one-liners from the fall:

"Can we get Jake Delhomme into illegal dog fighting?"
—Montech responding to "Turner, Falcons slam door on Panthers"

"I don’t think Ken Thompson will show his face at the country club any time soon."
—Bcramer0515 responding to "Stunningly swift fall for Wachovia"

"Dear Wachovia, if you pay off these stooges I will pull all of my accounts."
—Spockko responding to "Wachovia executives eligible for $98.1M"

30. The Evening Muse Evening MuseThere's something cool about a place where the sound is always perfect, the covers are reasonable, and the beer's refreshing. How could you not love that musicians, like Kevin Gordon (pictured), go out of their way to experience playing the Muse and its supportive local audience? 
31. Not satisfied with an underachieving basketball team, UNCC fans have succeeded in talking their board of trustees into starting a football team.
And we love them for it.
A few quick ones (32-41)32. The Winky Dinky Dog at the Penguin 
33. Cheap gas 10 miles south of the city in South Carolina 
34. Dale Jr. 
35. The Light Rail only costs $1.50 one-way…now what other mass transportation do you know of that costs that little to ride?
36. Davidson basketball fans
37. Pedicabs uptown, people!
38. Beaches. Mountains. Close.
39. The Duke Mansion
40. Tailgaters at Lowes Motor Speedway and the zMax dragway 
41. The Duke Power building’s light show

 More Reasons: 1-11 | 12-23 | 24-41 | 42-51

Categories: Feature, The Buzz